The Rosewood Massacre Happened New Year's Week

A perspective for your first week of 2019

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History is unkind.

The residents of Rosewood, Florida in the early 1900’s understood this well. The town of Rosewood had been a quiet, primarily black, self-sufficient community.

They had three churches, a school, a large Masonic Hall, a turpentine mill, a sugarcane mill, a baseball team named the Rosewood Stars, and two general stores, one of which was white-owned. The village had about a dozen two-story wooden plank homes, other small two-room houses, and several small unoccupied plank farm and storage structures. Some families owned pianos, organs, and other symbols of middle-class prosperity.

Racial violence at the time was common throughout the nation, manifested as individual incidents of extra-legal actions, or attacks on entire communities. Lynchings reached a peak around the start of the 20th century as southern states were disenfranchising black voters and imposing white supremacy; white supremacists used it as a means of social control throughout the South.

Trouble In Paradise

However, trouble began when white men from several nearby towns lynched a black Rosewood resident because of unsupported accusations that a white woman in nearby Sumner had been beaten and possibly raped by a black drifter. When the town's black citizens rallied together to defend themselves against further attacks, a mob of several hundred whites combed the countryside hunting for black people, and burned almost every structure in Rosewood.

Survivors from the town hid for several days in nearby swamps until they were evacuated by train and car to larger towns. No arrests were made for what happened in Rosewood. The town was abandoned by its former black and white residents; none ever moved back, and the town ceased to exist.

The Rosewood massacre took place during the first week of January 1923.

New Year’s Week

Every New Year promises that were made the last week of the year before are mulled over. Activation plans normally occur after New Year’s Day as most use the day for rest and reflection.

Pressure can mount on the ambitious and anxious to jumpstart personal and business progress.

Your old stodgy self is resistant to change. You must be different to adapt to the new reality you want to create for yourself.

Like the white residents of Florida who could not come to understand that the rules of the Jim Crow South actually motivated communities, inhabited by descendants of the Diaspora, to be self-sufficient.

Second class citizenship and inferiority complex creation was the goal not innovation. However, ingenuity prevailed and as a result lies were told to stoke fears empower the racial biases through fear.

Eventually, the town was razed and no help came to Rosewood.

During this first week of New Year’s take time to confront your fears, reflect on what you never want to experience, and design a plan of execution.

You cannot do things the same so decide what drastic changes you will make. Total upheaval is necessary and this constitutes a revolt of the culture you have lived in to your inner voice.

Fight the urge to go backwards and use this first week to confront the brewing tide within. There will be pressure and divisiveness like a riot.

Emotionally it will be a massacre. Know that through the initial turmoil in January you are sitting the tone for a 2019 full of game changing moves.

Resolution

The State of Florida declared Rosewood a Florida Heritage Landmark in 2004 and subsequently erected a historical marker on State Road 24 that names the victims and describes the community's destruction.

Rosewood descendants formed the Rosewood Heritage Foundation and the Real Rosewood Foundation to educate people in Florida and all over the world.

In 1993, survivors filed a lawsuit against the state government for its failure to protect them and their families.

Originally, the compensation total offered to survivors was $7 million. The legislature eventually settled on $1.5 million: this would enable payment of $150,000 to each person who could prove he or she lived in Rosewood during 1923, and provide a $500,000 pool for people who could apply for the funds after demonstrating that they had an ancestor who owned property in Rosewood during the same time.

Life is full of challenges and it is unfair. Keeping history in the forefront of your mind while exploring your own evolution will allow you to work things out while others are inferring their popular opinions upon your evolution.

Let your resolution be to use this week for innovation. Expect conflict and even an emotional massacre. Understand that this week is the pivotal one in your history that will lay the way for your future.